Zip Zap Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 4 and up (publisher suggests 6+)
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • About 15 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Reflex & Speed

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Zip Zap, by Gamewright, is a fast-paced card game where the players are attempting to discard their hand as quickly as possible. There is no turn order and each player needs to pay attention to the table, to the other players, and their own cards at all times. Match colors and discard numbers in sequential order whenever possible, but watch out for the Zap! In a blink of an eye, your winning streak could come to a crashing halt!

Zip Zap is a comprised of 66 cards. There are a total of 5 solid colored suits (with number values 1 through 10), one “Wild” suit (with number values 1 through 10), and 6 Zap cards. The numbers are big and easy to read. There is no unique pattern to the colors which will be a serious disadvantage to players with color blindness.

Not included with the game but necessary is a method in which the players can keep track of their scores. A pen or pencil and a pad of paper works nicely.

Game Set Up

To set up the game, you first need to sort deck into the different suits (the 5 solid colors and the 1 Wild suit). Give each player 1 Zap card and then, depending on the number of players, you will remove a number of solid colored suits from the game. Remove any unused Zap cards as well and then shuffle the remaining suits and the Wild suit together, ensuring the entire deck is shuffled thoroughly.

After the deck is shuffled, deal out the cards to the players. The number of cards to be dealt, face-down, again depends on the number of players in the game. All remaining cards not dealt are placed in the middle of the playing area, face-down.

Each player should take a moment to organize their hand. The recommended method is first by color and then by number. The Zap card is placed in the player’s hand prior to play. Players should keep their hand hidden from the other players at all times.

Once all the players have organized their hand, you are ready to play!

Zippity Zappity Do!

Note: Zip Zap is a game where everyone plays at the same time. There is no turn order. For younger or inexperience players, this can be very intimidating and exceedingly aggravating. Depending on your playing group, it is recommended that you keep the game slow at first. Let each player think about their next move with the more experienced players purposely reducing their own speed. As the younger and inexperienced players start to learn the game, they will become faster and much more competitive.

Zip Zap will be played in rounds, with a number of rounds equal to the number of players (the one exception is for a 2 or 3-player game where you play 2 rounds per player). Every game round will start the same and end the same.

To being the round, ensure that everyone has a hand of cards and a Zap card. If this is the game’s first round, this step is already completed. If this is not the first round, simply collect all the played cards, give each player a Zap card, shuffle the remaining cards, and deal out cards to all the players. Place any remaining cards in the middle of the playing area, face-down.

Draw and reveal the top card of the deck by placing it in the middle of the playing area. Give all the players a moment to look at the card and then shout “GO!” or “ZIP!” or whatever you like.

Players now put one card at a time on the face-up card creating a pile. Note that each player can only place one card at a time, but players do not need to wait for other players to do the same. THERE IS NO TURN ORDER. I cannot stress this enough. Play a card and then play another and another and another, as fast the player can. There are rules, however, that must be followed.

A player must match a card’s color and can only play a number that is next in the sequence, counting up. For example, a Yellow 5 can be played on a Yellow 4. The only exceptions to this rule is the Wild suit. If the number value on the Wild suit is next in the sequential order, it can be played. For example, a Wild 6 can be played on a Red 5. When a Wild suit is on the top card on the pile, any colored suit (including another Wild) can be played as long as it displays the next number in the sequence. This continues until one of three conditions are met.

  • When a player places a card with the number value of “10” (the highest number available), the next card that is played can only come from the player who slapped down the “10” card. The next card can be of any color and with any number value. Play then continues as normal.
  • When no one can play a card (it happens), whoever played the last card goes again and plays a card from their hand of any color and with any number value. Play then continues as normal.
  • A player slaps down a Zap card. The Zap card allows the player to keep control of the round even if they don’t have a card that can be legally played to the pile. The card can only be played, however, if the player was the last one to play a card. For example, the player slaps a card to the pile and then shout “ZAP!” before any other player can place a card. Once the Zap card is played successfully, it is placed on the pile and the owning player can now selects any card from their hand they want to play next. Once placed, play then continues as normal.

Note: In the rare case that none of the players can play a card based on the first card drawn from the deck to begin the round, simply draw another card and place it on top of the other.

Ending a Round

The round ends as soon as any player slaps their last card in the pile and shouts “Zip Zap!” (or don’t). At that point, everyone stops playing and points are counted. Points are not a good thing. Players get points for the following:

  • Each solid colored card in the player’s hand is worth 1 point
  • Each Wild card in the player’s hand is worth 3 points
  • Any unplayed Zap cards are worth 5 points

Once the points are counted and recorded, make sure that each player has one Zap card, discard any remaining cards to the pile, and then shuffle those cards into the face-down deck. Once shuffled, deal each player new hand and begin a new round.

Winning the Game

After the last round of play, the total points for all the rounds are added together. The player with the least amount of points wins!

Alternate Scoring

When playing the game with little geeks, odds are very good they will have a number of cards left in their hand until they get better and faster at the game. Instead of scoring points as noted above, award the player who finished the round with 1 point. At the end of the game, total the scores and the player with the most points wins the game.

To learn more about Zip Zap, see the game’s official web page.

Prediction

Chaotic and fast-paced card games are a mixed bag with my little geeks. While they enjoy the quickness and the excitement, they do not care for the stress and the feeling of being left behind. Meteor and Jab are two great examples of card games that will test even the most well seasoned of game veterans, keeping them on their toes and leaning forward to keep up. Zip Zap, luckily, is not nearly as complicated or intense. Having played both games and survived, I do not believe my little geeks will have much of a problem with this game. There is a required quickness, but the choices that need to be made are not large in number.

When I pitched the game to my 4 and 7-year-old, they were ready to give it a go. I took them through the rules and we played a few practice hands. No problems whatsoever and both of my boys understood what was required of them and how the game was played. To my surprise and enjoyment, my 4-year-old not only caught on but was excited to play. He has, as of late, been pulling away from games. Seeing him back at the game table and eager to play was a relief.

As my 4-year-old set the game up for us, shuffling the cards and dealing them out, I asked each of my little geeks their thoughts on the game so far.

“Easy rules and fast game play! I like it!” ~ Liam (age 7)

“It’s good!” ~ Nyhus (age 4)

Let’s take this game for a test spin.

Final Word

My two oldest little geeks enjoyed Zip Zap. In their own words, they found the game to be “easy” and “fast”, “challenging” without being “really hard”. They both played the game very well, with my 4-year-old even dominating his brother and me for a few turns, locking us out. The key to teaching little geeks this game is their hand organization. Make sure you give them time to organize their cards by color and then by number. This greatly helped both of my little geeks keep the game fast and organized.

Parent Geeks, of course, had no problem with this game, nor did the Gamer Geeks. Parents loved it for the fun value and how easy it was played. It also helped that the game can take 6 players, allowing for a good mix of different age groups and experience levels. At no time was anyone lost or confused about the game, but there was much “flustering”. Several times, I observed individuals somewhat locking up as they try to play cards as fast as they could, only be blocked by another player. The looks on their faces were priceless.

The Gamer Geeks did not care for the game, but they played it all the same. Did they ask for another game when it was done? Nope, but nor did they say the game was bad. The game is solid, straightforward, and fast. It’s everything it is trying to be. Unfortunately, that’s just not enough for the game elitists.

My oldest little geeks reveals his Zap card - oddly enough, his younger brother is very excited about it

Gamer Geeks, this is a quick-to-play and simple card game that depends on card availability and timing more than anything else. There is very little in the way of strategy or tactics, but you will have to do some light critical thinking when quickly evaluating card play. While the game is a quick adrenaline rush to your brain, the game does little more than what a cup of coffee would do. Yes, it’ll wake you up, but it won’t last. The game gets full marks for being designed well with great game play, but it was never intended to be a game that would draw in and keep a geek gamer elitist interested.

Parent Geeks, this is a great family game that will play well with a wide age range and experience group. The game is fast but not at a neck-breaking speed. Your younger players will have a hard time keeping up with the more experienced players, but the game does what it can to keep the playing field as even and as fair as possible. After all, a card can only be played if it meets the requirements. You will find that the game has sudden bursts of activity and then very short little pauses as players attempt to quickly reevaluate their hand and select the next card to play. The end result for families, parents, and non-gamers is a fun game that is light and easy to play. Not to mention the education value the game provides by requiring your little geek to know how to count and recognize numbers.

Child Geeks, this game will keep you on your toes and watching not only the table but also your hand. You might feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but if you organized your hand well, you’ll very easily be able to determine which cards are played next. While speed is certainly a requirement, focus is what you really want. When you can quickly scan the table and then your hand for what card to play next, you will be able to play your cards faster than the rest of the players!

Zip Zap was greatly enjoyed by my family and friends at the gaming table. Lots of laughs, groans, and high-fives as players attempted to lose their cards as fast as they could. I recommend you use the alternate scoring rules only when playing with younger little geeks. Most of the time, the point spread was enough to keep a little geek or two in the second or third position during the game. If we just went with the normal number of points scored per round approach (based on the cards), many players would be left far behind. The single point award scoring also did wonders to speed up a fast game to be even faster. Know your audience and the best choice will be obvious.

Personally, I enjoyed Zip Zap and believe this will be a game my family and I will play at friend’s houses, on camping trips, and in hotel rooms. I’m sure we will play it at home, but seldomly. The game is fast and fun, but my little geeks are really pushing me to play more miniature-style games with them as of late. As a result, I think Zip Zap will be forgotten for a bit. This is perhaps the game’s only flaw. There is nothing to it that is particularly rememberable or remarkable, but people will have a good time when playing it. Do give it a try the next time you get your family and friends together if you are looking for a fast game that will bring smiles to the players’ faces.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply